Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reading fun

This week students are starting their ABC books.  These books are created using only the letters they currently know and they illustrate each page with a picture that has meaning to them and matches the sound that the letter makes.  These books can be read just with letter names or they can be read with letter sounds.  The students love creating their own books for their independent reading boxes.  

Everyone got their very own "reading finger" to help their eyes know where to look on the page and to help reinforce the one to one matching when reading.  

As if a sticker book wasn't enough fun... today we added a "reading finger" and the room erupted with excitement all over again.

Exploring Numbers up to 6

Students explored numbers to 6 using "junk boxes."  They collected up to six objects, traded plates with their partner and shared their findings.  If they agreed, they high five and if they disagreed, they said prove it and each counted the objects to see if they could come to an agreement.  

Students explored numbers to 6 using their hands as counters and a dice.  We used a dice to roll a number and create that number on our hands.  Partners checked with each other to see if they agreed or if they needed to try again.  The students loved this game and it helped solidify recognize the number patterns on the dice.  

Choice time with the listening center

Listening to stories is a favorite way to spend choice time in the classroom.  Ask you child about the weekly story.  What is the story called?  What was your favorite part and why?  What did that story make you think of?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Students created their own coconut tree from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom  that they will decorate with the letters in their names.  They loved retelling the story as they painted their pictures.  This artwork will decorate our hallway until Parent Teacher conferences when you can take them home to enjoy.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sharing our sticker books

Kindergarten friends shared their sticker books with theri book buddies.  Matching one to one, like we do in these sticker books is 1 of the 4 skills we look for in emergent readers to show they are ready to read.  

1. Going left to right across the page
2. Matching 1:1 words as they read
3. Locating known words in text
4. Locating unknown words in text using the known words (if the sentence was I like the red balloon.  The child may know all words but balloon but may be able to solve it because of the picture of the red balloon on the page).

Numbers 1 and 2 are our focus right now for the students which is why we are creating sticker books, using out pointer finger and practicing reading across the pages, pointing under each sticker and saying the word that matches.  

For the students that are reading words, we are encouraging them to continue to do so and to explore other ways to read books.  Exploring the 3 ways to read allows students to choose high interest books and glean the information they can by thinking about what they might learn from the pictures, using their prior knowledge.  Stay tuned for tips to help your child in reading at any level!

Save the date: November 4th 6pm.  
Westwoods will be having a family fun night at Incredible Mo's.  This night will raise money to support literacy in our school.  What will the money be used for?  Items such as the workbooks for the Core Knowledge Phonics program that your child uses every day and NewsELA which the upper grades use for both reading and writing workshops with current events.

More details will be released next week!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sticker books

Students are practicing one to one correspondence to help get their eyes read to read words and sounds.  Readers and non-readers both enjoyed this activity.  Everyone will have one started by tomorrow afternoon.  

Writing Partners

Writing partners can be used in a variety of ways:  students can share what they worked on for the day, to get feedback on their topics, to push their thinking in the writing process or to educate someone about something new.  Today was the first day of sharing our work with another student and I bet you will hear rave reviews.  Writers focus on developing writing pieces they are proud of and this gives them an opportunity to share their pride with a peer and holds them accountable, as well, for their job during writing workshop.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Reading Examples

Partner reading has been a great addition to our classroom.  Students love to share their reading with a partner, as well as, share the task of reading the book.  Here is a video of two students sharing the story of Froggy Gets Dressed, a classroom favorite.   

Gestures and story book language are heavily emphasized in early reading development.  Books are chosen that offer the student the opportunity to both gesture and use story book language in a retell.  Here is a video of two students having fun retelling Caps for Sale

Nonfiction and informational books are also a large part of emergent reading.  What can a reader look at in a picture and learn from it?  Stay tuned for a video example in the up coming days.  

What can you do to support reading development in your child?  Practice reading a variety of ways.  Tonight read a book by looking at the pictures and connecting them with a story (this works best with a story your child doesn't already know, library books are a great opportunity each week for that), retell an old favorite using the pictures as supports for that rich story book language. If you share the task this is a great way to plant the language for them (If you used the Jack and the Bean Stock, maybe the Fee-fi-fo-fum is the part you say and then say, let's say it together).  

Another great addition to any reading time would be to ask your child their favorite part and why.  If they are not able to give you a part, model this for them, "I liked when Froggy's face got red when he realized he forgot his underwear."  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Phonics fun

This child is showing a side view of his pencil grip.

The ideal grip would be a tripod with the pointer on the top of the pencil,
thumb on the side and middle finger supporting the opposite side.  Here 
students practice hand grip and proper letter formation, always starting at the top.
No matter the utensil, students are practicing proper hand grip when writing.

Getting creative using math

Mathematicians got creative today in room 45.  They visualized an animal, real or made up and drew that animal.  Once they completed their drawing they had to explain to their partner how they used math and numbers in their planning and in their final product.  This fabulous drawing was a cow, unicorn, lion with four legs, one horn, four tails, ten spots, etc.  This was a fun way to wrap up our work on numbers 1-5.  Ask your chid about their animal.  Maybe make an animal drawing at home and share your thoughts about the number of body parts, fur design, etc. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Adding Labels

This child labeled her flower.

This child labeled the type of truck: garbage truck . 

This writer labeled house, block, grass

This writer labeled books, shelf

This child labeled his stores to help the reader know where they could shop!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Donors Choose

Here is the link to our Donors Choose grant.  Thank you to all of you who have donated to get new reading materials in the hands of our students.  If you donate any amount up to $100.00 by midnight tonight, it will be matched if you use the promo code SPARK.  This organization is a 501(c)(3).  

Cheers to a world of possibilities through books.

What if you want to donate and it is after midnight tonight?  Your donation is still much appreciated and needed, thank you!  Our project will stay posted until the New Year in hopes of completing it and getting these new materials.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Partner Reading

What does partner reading look like in our classroom?  Readers sit knee knee elbow elbow, readers have eyes on the book, readers stay in one spot, readers read the whole time and readers talk about books.  They sustained effort for over 20 minutes, WOW!

Our first fire drill

Today was our first fire drill.  The students did amazing.  We reviewed why it is important to practice, why it is important to have a plan and why should we be silent during a fire drill.  These are great items to discuss at home too.  In October, we will be learning more about fire safety, stay tuned!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Small Motor Development

Students participate in a variety of activities to increase their small motor development which directly impacts their ability to hold a pencil and write.  What can you do at home?  Play Where is Thumpkin, like these brave ladies that lead our class in the song, play with legos, playdough, have small pencils for writing (golf pencils and broken crayons are great, they help with control), rip paper for crafts, and peel stickers for sticker books.  These muscles are often forgotten, but are essential in maintaining a successful hand grip in writing.

Learning about letters

Students are loving the new phonics program CKLA.  They practiced starting at the top and going down.  All letters start at the top and we are working on making this a habit for everyone.  When your child writes at home encourage them to start at the top with all letters and numbers!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Learning Independence

We are building independence in reading each day.  Today we brainstormed ideas to help every one have the opportunity to read.  I will be transferring these to a poster and placing it in the room for everyone in our community to use as a reminder.  Here is what the students came up with:  Readers can stay in one spot, readers keep their eyes on the book, readers read the whole time, readers use soft voices.  We will add to this list if necessary as we develop our independent reading skills.  

Our first library day

Today we had our first library day with Mrs. Kubesh.  The students loved learning the rules of the library and the many fun items the library has to offer.  We will be checking out books every time we go to the library (Tuesday and Friday).  Students can check out 2 books at a time.  Whenever students are done with them, send them back and we will send them back to the library and that way students will be ready to check out new ones on our library days.  

And it begins...Book Shopping

Monday we launched Book Shopping in our classroom.  Student explored books, found ones they were interested in and placed them in their OWN book box to use for independent reading.  The students LOVED having choice in their reading material as well as having their own book box to read from.  
We are practicing reading books 3 ways:  Read the pictures, read the words and retell the story.  You can read books these ways at home to help reinforce that readers read books a variety of ways.